MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The idea of redeveloping parts of downtown Minneapolis is nothing new, but when it comes to the historic post office, the downtown council is turning to a younger generation for help.

Twelve graduate architectural design students at the University of Minnesota were challenged to find new ways to use the old post office.

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The building is located on South First Street, right along the Mississippi River. It’s a large space, and much of it is no longer in use.

The goal now is to take advantage of its great location, and connect downtown life to the river.

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“What sets us apart here in Minneapolis is this Mississippi River. We get somewhere in the range of three million visitors on an annual basis to this small area right here,” said Mayor Jacob Frey. “It is three and a half to four blocks right across the most valuable real estate in our entire city, and we can do something spectacular with it!”

The students came-up with a dozen new ways to use the post office.

The general idea is to create a large community center. It would include shops, places to eat and public green space.

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City leaders say it could take five to 10 years to come up with a final plan.